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Sin1. The first, and more general sin of church-members, is, a defect in their care and circumspection, to prevent all just offences to them that are without; forbidden Col. iv. 5. Walk in wisdom towards them which are without. By a careless disregard of this rule, we harden the wicked in their sins, bring guilt upon ourselves, and reproach upon the name and ways of God.
300Sin 2. The second, and more particular sin of some church-members, is idleness, and neglect of their civil callings; against the express rule, 2 Thess. iii. 11, 12. There are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all: such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. This brings poverty on themselves, and scandal on religion.
Sin 3. The third sin is tale-bearing, and revealing the secrets of families, and persons; whence many strifes arise, to the cooling and quenching of mutual love; expressly forbidden, Lev. xix. 16.Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among the people. And 1 Tim. v. 13.Not only idle, but tattlers also and busy-bodies, speaking things which they ought not.
Sin 4. The fourth sin is an easy credulity of private whispers and rash censures thereupon. This we ought not to do against the meanest member. 2 Cor. xii. 20. Lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, &c. Much less 301against church officers. 1 Tim. v. 19, Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. This strikes at the bond of peace.
Sin 5. The fifth sin is their neglect of God's ordinances upon slight diversions, when they are neither disabled by works of necessity, or mercy; contrary to Heb. x. 25, Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is. Trivial occasions should divert no Christian from attending upon God's ordinances.
Sin 6. The sixth sin is a defect in zeal for God's ordinances, manifest in their dilatory attendance; contrary to Psal. cxxii. 1, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord. And unsuitable to their first practice, Gal. iv. 15. Where is then the blessedness? &c.
Sin 7. The seventh sin is irreverence, and want of seriousness under ordinances; contrary to Psal. lxxxix. 7, Gos is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints; and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him. And this is manifest in 302vain attires, 1 Cor. xi. 10. The woman ought to have power on her head, because of the Angels. And unseemly postures and gestures, Eccl. v. 1. Keep thy foot, when thou goest to the house of God; and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools.
Sin 8. The eighth sin reprovable in them, is, the neglect of giving and taking due reproofs from each other; contrary to Lev. xix. 17. Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. And Christ's own rule, Matt. xviii. 15. Go, and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. And so for taking reproofs, see Psal. cxli. 5. Let the righteous smite me, &c.
Sin 9. The ninth sin is, mutual strifes and animosities, not seasonably and prudently composed among themselves, but scandalously exposed to the view of the world; contrary to the Apostle's rule, 1 Cor. vi. 5, 6. Is there not a wise man among you, &c. But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? 303Now therefore, there is utterly a fault among you.
Sin 10. The tenth sin is, the privateness of their spirits, centring too much in their own concerns; expressly condemned, Phil. ii. 21. All seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ's. And contrary to scripture-example, 2 Cor. xi. 29. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is offended, and I burn not?
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